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Customer Review

101 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Australia" as seen from another point of view, November 2, 2009
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This review is from: Australia (DVD)
I did not see this in theatres on release as the trailers made it look like a big, overly wrought romance... a la Gone with the Wind meets Cimarron and not my cup of tea. Nor am I a fan of Nicole Kidman, so no appeal there. And when I finally saw it, I found it nothing like I expected nor was it much like many of the other reviewers have portrayed. Yes, it used broad, almost stereo-typed characters to carry the "Anglo" story line, and yes, there were actions in the movie that required the "willing suspension of disbelief"; that hardly seems unusual.

However, the thing that made the movie unusual in a most positive way was the telling of the story from the point of view of the racially-mixed "outcast" little boy, Nullah. This introduced an entirely different point of view, signficantly, at least for Americans, of the characters and the story line. While I do not pretend to know much about aboriginal culture, the concepts and importance of "singing" and "stories" were presented sufficiently well to open up the ideas to the large portion of the American audience which likely is unfamiliar with this. A number of strong and appealing cultural ideas were referenced or illustrated either in the dialog / actions of the aboriginal characters or occasionally the brief comments of "The Drover": the geographical mapping of the aborigines through "singing" (music); the importance of one's story and how one connects to the "tribe" / ancestors / universe through "singing" (stories). In fact, the word "sing" as used by Nullah and The Drover in the movie clearly has a richer meaning in this aboriginal context, one which cannot easily be translated directly into American English and which is worth exploring.

I thought Jackman did well in a role that called for a man's man--in American movies cowboys are not too chatty, either...men of action, mostly defined by showing up and doing, so I remain puzzled that other reviewers thought Jackman was too silent. However, the actors that stole the show were the aboriginal actors. Uncle George was marvelous and mystical throughout--totally elegant, grounded, and convincing as the shaman "singing" (guiding with knowledge) his charges through the desert. The Drover's brother-in-law was excellent, playing his role with a quiet dignity.

But this movie was Nullah's story, from beginning to end, and the beautiful Brandon Walters is a revelation as to what a pure talent can produce when given the right chance; for that we can thank Mr. Luhrmann's effort to get that key role right. I do not know who actually did the singing (humming, chanting) which seemed to eminate from Nullah--if it was dubbed or done by Brandon Walters. But this movie has indelibly burned in my mind the earnest, trusting face with huge brown eyes in and the pure, musical tones of the child-mystic when Nullah utters this simple line (and variations on it): "I sing you to me." For this line alone, whether taken as a simple plot facilitator or as a greater metaphor, I would see this movie again and again.
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